Pittsburgh (March 3, 2004) -- Former Alpern Rosenthal president and managing partner Fred Morelli has come out of retirement to head two subsidiaries at one-time rival CPA firm Schneider Downs & Co.

Morelli, who left Alpern Rosenthal in 1997 to head up Southfield, Mich.-based Allied Electric Supply Co. and then retired in 2000, has returned to public accounting as the director of Schneider Downs Corporate Finance and Schneider Downs Wealth Management Advisors -- the firm's corporate finance and financial planning subsidiaries.

Morelli said the move was motivated as much by friendship and a desire to return to work as by money or business opportunity.

“As much as our firms competed with each other, and we did a lot, [Schneider Downs president] Ray Buehler was always my friend and we have a mutual respect that has lasted for years,” Morelli said. “It made the move all that much easier, but quite honestly retirement was not for me. I tried it, but friends kept telling me, ‘Business is one of your hobbies,’ and they were right. I really enjoy it.”

After leaving Allied Electric, a former Alpern client, Morelli tried his hand briefly at mergers and acquisitions consulting, but said that due to “numerous factors,” the economy notwithstanding, the move wasn't fruitful.

Morelli, who officially joined Schneider Downs on March 1, is already involved in plans to grow the corporate finance practice’s $175 million under management to $250 million by 2006 and to complete up to 10 “solid transactions” -- including helping clients find companies to buy or acting as an investment banker to help sell businesses -- for Schneider Downs Wealth Management Advisors in the same timeframe.

“I think this is a great niche to be in and this firm continues to be in a sweet spot, I think we are very well positioned for growth,” Morelli said.

Long-time friend and colleague Buehler said he couldn't be more pleased to have Morelli at the firm. “Fred and I go back to the 1980s, and even early on during his time at Alpern we talked about how he would be a good fit with us, as his personality fit well with the makeup of our firm,” Buehler said. “Given that, and his situation over the last couple of years, it didn’t take much to revisit this [seemingly] life-long conversation we’ve had. Eventually we made it happen.”

-- Seth Fineberg

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